Could you imagine spending a years worth of income, just to maintain an image. Well in the US women spend well over $30,000 a year to keep up with the latest trends. Their hair is living better than most citizens. African American women contribute to a large portion of this epidemic, spending countless amounts of money on extensions, hair care products, braids, perms and relaxers.
Why are African American women resulting to spending large amounts of money on extensions, rather than rocking their natural hair?
This topic has been debated year after year. Some say that it is because African American women are pressured by European standards of beauty, and this is why they conform. Well, lets explore this. Back in the 70’s women loved their hair, rocking afros puffs loud and proud, and then their was a shift. Finding a women with kinky curls is rare now. As the generations started to evolve we started to notice African American women striving more and more to look like the white women they watched through their television screens and saw in authoritative positions. It can only be assumed that through observation they started to notice the rewards these women with long straight hair received. Once they started to assimilate they noticed that they themselves would reap the benefits of mimicking their European market.
According to a study done by Dove 14% of African American women voted that they did not like their hair.
The negative stigmas placed upon natural hair can be a factor. When growing up terms like “nappy head” ‘rough” “ugly” and such were associated with the idea of natural hair. At a young age you were taught to dislike your natural hair. But was the hair really ugly, or did African Americans lose the battle? So women and children started installing straight and wavy weaves and hide their natural locks.
From this emerged the negligence of natural hair, which in turn made it even harder to wear. This is because now your hair is so damaged from putting these chemicals in your hair and tugging and pulling on sensitive strands that your natural hair is confused itself. So they end up cutting it off and blaming the hair industry instead of themselves.
All hope is not lost because new research is proving that African American women are changing their ideas of beauty and taking themselves back! Research by Mintel shows that there is a 26% increase over the past few years with women doing away with relaxers.
Trendy Food for thought: Surgeon General Regina Benjamin explained that women don’t exercise because sweat makes their hair go back to it natural state, and blamed hair, in part, for the high obesity rate among black women.
What do you feel about this statement?